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36. Gerry Dawes's Spain: An Insider's Guide to Spanish Food, Wine, Culture and Travel

"My good friend Gerry Dawes, the unbridled Spanish food and wine enthusiast cum expert whose writing, photography, and countless crisscrossings of the peninsula have done the most to introduce Americans—and especially American food professionals—to my country's culinary life. . .” - - Chef-restaurateur-humanitarian José Andrés, Nobel Peace Prize Nominee and Oscar Presenter 2019; Chef-partner of Mercado Little Spain at Hudson Yards, New York 2019


Touring Spain with Gerry Dawes: Top Chefs, Testimonials, References

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"Gerry Dawes, I can't thank you enough for opening up Spain to me." -- Michael Chiarello on Twitter. Chef Chiarello toured northern Spain with me in October 2011 and was just in Barcelona again in January 2013.  He is preparing to open his new Spanish inspired restaurant, Coqueta, at San Francisco's Pier 5 in April.

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"In his nearly thirty years of wandering the back roads of Spain," Gerry Dawes has built up a much stronger bank of experiences than I had to rely on when I started writing Iberia...His adventures far exceeded mine in both width and depth..." -- James A. Michener, author of Iberia: Spanish Travels and Reflections

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On a private customized tour of Spain with Gerry Dawes.  
Food Network Next Iron Chef contestant Michael Chiarello, 
Chef-owner of Bottega (Napa Valley), Pasterlería Oyarzun, San Sebastián.
Photo by Gerry Dawes©2011 / 

Slide show of the trip I took Chef Michael Chiarello (Bottega, Napa Valley & Napastyle) 
and his Executive Sous Chef Ryan Mcilwaith (Bottega) on in October 2011.
(Double click on the images for a larger version of the show.)

In addition to Michael Chiarello and his Ryan Mcilwaith, the following food personalities have been on customized wine and food tours with me to Spain:

Thomas Keller, The French Laundry
Michael Lomonaco, Porterhouse NYC
Terrance Brennan (twice)
Mark Miller (four times)
Mark Kiffin, The Compound, Santa Fe
John Gottfried, Founder of  Gourmet Garage (twice)
Michael Whiteman, Joseph Baum & Michael Whiteman Restaurant Consultants
Greg Drescher, Culinary Institute of America - Greystone

Chefs and food personalities whom I have accompanied on shorter excursions such as mini tapas hopping tours, luncheons and dinners in Madrid, Barcelona, San Sebastián, Valencia, Alicante, etc.: 

Michael & Ariane Batterberry, Antoinette Bruno, David Burke, Andrew Dornenburg
Cara da Silva, Michael Ginor, Christopher Gross, Greg Grossman, 
 Maria Guarneschelli, Brice Cutrer Jones, Stephen Kalt, Peter Kump, Harold McGee,  
Rick Moonen, Drew Nieporent, Ken Oringer, Karen Page, Cindy Pawlcyn, Jim Poris,  
Ruth Reichl, Jimmy Schmidt, John Sconzo, Jeffrey Steingarten,  Charlie Trotter, George Mendes,
Tetsuya Wakuda, Michael Weiss, Norman Van Aken, Tim & Nina Zagat, Rachel Zemzer

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Leading a group, including Chef Terrance Brennan (Picholine / Artisanal, New York City)
on a week-long culinary, wine and cultural adventure in Valencia and Alicante.

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"Gerry has an extraordinary knowledge of Spain, not just the cuisine and wine but the geography (little tapas bars on tiny streets in villages up in the mountains), history, culture and people. One of the highlights of the trip for me was not a 3-star Michelin meal, but a lunch at a winery. Gerry, of course, knew the winemaker, and we dined in a large beautiful room with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the vineyard. We ate simply: tomato salad, jamón ibérico, great bread and olive oil, baby lamb chops grilled over grape vines cuttings (exquisite), ewes’ milk cheese and, of course, great wine. What was special about this was the people, who invited us into their home with warmth and genuine hospitality, their alegría de vida (joie de vivre). I don’t speak Spanish but didn’t have too, we communicated through food, wine, banter, laughter and facial expressions." - - Terrance Brennan, Chef, cookbook author, creator-owner of New York’s Picholine and Artisanal restaurants. Brennan rates this trip, which predates the film pilot, as one of the top two gastronomic experiences of his life.

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